Blog :: 06-2013

Your 4th of July Vermont Events Guide

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Happy 4th of July from Signature Properties of Vermont!

There are tons of fun events around our area celebrating the holiday. Which are you attending?

July 3rd:

Burlington: Celebrate Independence Day on the beautiful Burlington waterfront. There will be food, music and fun all day leading up to a spectacular fireworks display at 9:30. Choose from any of the many restaurants downtown to eat, drink, relax and watch the show. Or stake out your spot anywhere along the waterfront or in the city parks. Worried about parking? The Burlington Fireworks Train will be running again this year! Hop on in Charlotte, Shelburne or South Burlington and save yourself the hassle of driving. (

Hinesburg: Kick start the holiday weekend with fun runs for the whole family! Choose the mileage that works for you: 10k (6:30 p.m), 5k (7:00 pm) or 2k (7:10 pm).

North Hero: Come to Knight Point State Park for an evening of food, music and fireworks at dusk sponsored by the Islands Center for Arts and Recreation.

Williston: Enter the annual town 5k (registration at 4:45, race at 6, $8 entry fee) and run on over to the Town Green for an old fashioned ice cream social and band performance!


July 4th:

Colchester: Come prepared for a full day of family fun and activities! Begin the day at 8:15 with a fun run (Meeting at U.M.S) then head into the village for the annual parade (11 am). In the evening enjoy live music at Bayside Beach from 6:45 until the fireworks begin. Come early to save a prime seat!

Essex: Head over to Maple Street for tons of food, music and children's activities....don't forget your bathing suit for the pool! Fireworks will begin at 9:30!

Grand Isle: Go "Back in Time" at this year's fourth of July celebration at the town Recreation Field. Be a kid again with potato sack races and other old time activities before playing or watching the town softball game. You'll be hungry after so plan on stopping by the chicken barbecue being held in the afternoon!

Hinesburg: The celebration begins at 11 with the annual town parade. From noon until evening the whole family can find fun, food, music, face painting and more at the carnival held at the high school. Then swing by the Fire Station for a delicious chicken barbecue beginning at 4. Fireworks begin at 9:30--bring your blanket and get there early for a good spot!

Milton: Pick your spot along the parade path (beginning at 11 am at the elementary school) ending at Bombardier Park where food vendors and entertainment galore will be available all day--including live music and a hypnotist! At 6 pm the 'Milton Midway' opens for business with games, tethered hot air balloon rides, antique cars on display and raffles! You can enjoy the chicken bbq put on by the fire department as you prepare for the fireworks display beginning at 9:30!

Richmond: Start the day with the town flea market/car show opening at 9 am before enjoying the 10:30 am fun run followed by the annual parade! There will be food, games, an auction and spelling bee at the library with music all day until fireworks at dusk! (Rain date: July 5)

Shelburne: Prepare to be delighted by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra's performance of festive, celebratory music at the beautiful Shelburne Farms. Plan to come early (doors open at 5:15) with a picnic to find a good seat. Enjoy the music, scenery and company until the fireworks begin!

South Hero: Celebrate the "Bounty of Grand Isle County" at this year's parade beginning at 11 am. There will be antique cars, lots of floats and bands celebrating the holiday! Parade begins at the corner of Landon and South Streets. 

Stowe: Prepare for a day packed with multi-dimensional fun! There will be miles of sales along Main Street and Mountain Road shops, a dunking booth, food, ice cream music and events (including a beautiful parade!). The annual fireworks will be held at Mayo Field--pack a blanket and picnic or eat before at any of the area's many restaurants.

Williston: The annual parade begins at 10 am kicking off a day of fun! Stop by the arts and crafts show at the elementary school (9 am-2 pm). Stop by the Fire Department for an open house from 11 am- 2pm and enjoy food, games, activities and music at the Village Green all day. The fireworks begin at dark at the Allen Brook School!

July 7:

St. Albans: The Great Race Triathlon will begin the day at 9:45 am! Later, enjoy the Bay Day fireworks at the Saint Albans Town Bay Park beginning at dusk. 

Enjoy your holiday and celebrate safely!

Mortgages Simplified


 Let's face it-financing is not the most exciting part of buying a new home. While most of us would rather be shopping for paint colors than interest rates-understanding how to choose the right mortgage is a crucial step.

Feeling overwhelmed with options and information? Use the guide below to familiarize yourself with the most common choices available to you.

1. The 30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage:  This is the traditional mortgage most people immediately associate with home-ownership. A fixed rate mortgage ensures a stable interest rate over the life of the loan regardless of market fluctuations. If you've found a house you plan to stay in for a long time and like the security of knowing your monthly payments, this is a good option for you to consider.

2. The 15 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage: These loans are exactly like the 30 year option except you save thousands in interest by paying the loan back in half the time. If you like the security of a fixed rate but are financially able to afford a larger payment look into this type of loan.

3. FHA Loans: The Federal Housing Administration backs these mortgages making them "unconventional." With government backing, you become a less risky borrower-even if your credit score could use some work. Another benefit to FHA loans are the 3.5% minimum down payments-much lower than standard loans. This type also allows the seller to contribute up to 6% of the sales price in closing costs--a good deal if you can negotiate it! There are income requirements associated with this type of mortgage so it's best to speak with your lender about options and qualifications.

4. VA Loans: This special type of mortgage is also government-backed and available only to military veterans. Unlike other loans, 100% financing is available as a "Thank You" for serving in the armed forces. VA Loans are available in 15 or 30 year re-payment schedules allowing for even more flexibility.

5. Jumbo Loans: Specifically designed for financing amounts over $417,000, jumbo loans are perfect for those of you purchasing your dream home. Considering the higher principle, lenders will require a much more substantial down payment since they consider loaning such a large amount a risk. Jumbo loans are available in even higher increments ($650,000+) and are called "Super Jumbo" Loans. These are available in combination with 30-Year Fixed, FHA and Adjustable Rate mortgages. If you are able to qualify for an FHA loan in a jumbo amount, you receive the added benefit of nearly 97% financing up-front.

6. Adjustable Rate Mortgages: This type of loan is different from the others and may not be ideal for the "slow and steady" crowd. ARM's have a fixed interest rate for a set period of time (5, 7 etc.) but then the rate adjusts monthly, quarterly or annually depending on the current market. This is a great option for people who won't be staying in their home for more than 5 years or are market savvy and like to keep on top of interest rates to re-finance to their benefit.

There are pros and cons to all types of loans-the best thing to do is sit down with a lender you trust and discussing your financial situation honestly. A good lender will be able to steer you in the right direction and choose the best option for you.

Paint to Sell: Choosing the Right Color



Your home's exterior is the first thing potential buyers notice, don't let the wrong color sabotage your curb appeal.

Choosing the right color for your home could not only attract more interest from interested buyers, but may even boost their offer. We are told not to judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to real estate, first impressions are hard to overcome. The wrong color could cause searchers to skip past your listing without another thought. Make your home stand out (in a good way) with the following tips:

  • Be Moderate-The goal is to attract as many interested buyers to your home as possible. While you may love bold, flashy colors, it's best to stay neutral to appeal to the masses.
  • Observe-Drive around your area to see what your neighbors homes look like, and choose colors that will blend nicely.
  • Earth tones-No matter your area, natural, earthy colors are a safe bet. Creams, light browns and light greens will always be appreciated.
  • Don't forget the door-Your front door is your chance to be a little more bold. Feel free to choose a richer, more vibrant color that will compliment your exterior and trim. Your entryway is essentially your home's smile-the first thing people are drawn to. Play it up and make it welcoming.

Not only will a coat of paint freshen your home, it may attract more interest and net you a higher sales price. It may be tempting to paint the home as you would want it, but keep in mind mass appeal. Remember, you are free to paint your new home anything you want and that is the time to show off your personality. Until then, use flowers and beautiful landscaping to boost curb appeal and add interest to your home's new paint job.


Visit Benjamin Moore for a list of their Best Selling Paint Colors for even more inspiration!

The Grass Is Always Greener...


Tips to keep your lawn looking lush this summer!

1. Aerate: Lawns are highly trafficked--especially during the summer. All that walking, playing and mowing compact the soil which hinders drainage and can even prevent air flow to the roots. To keep the air circulating, rent an aerator, or pick up a handheld version from a local hardware store. The process puts tiny holes in your lawn allowing your grass to spread out and breath.

2. Mow: Trim your grass once weekly with your mower blades at their highest setting. Cutting your lawn too short will leave it susceptible to scorching. If you have a mulching mower the trimmings will be cut up into tiny pieces and left behind on your lawn. If not, use a rake to spread the cuttings around--withing reason. Leaving the cut grass on your lawn acts as a fertilizer, returning nutrients to the soil. If the clippings are overwhelming however, make sure to remove some so they do not stifle new growth.

3. Water: If you've just laid new sod, or have a "young" lawn (freshly seeded), be sure to keep it watered during dry spells. Otherwise, watering your lawn is not normally necessary. Once rain has seeped in the color will come back to life quickly. During especially long dry spells, avoid cutting your grass if possible. The longer blades will shade and help protect the roots.

4. Dry: Water is obviously important to lawn growth-too little and your grass will dry out, too much and it will drown. If you have been experiencing as much rainfall as our area has, the latter is the more pressing concern. During these wet times, it is best not to mow at all. The weight of your mower will compact the soil, undoing all the progress you made aerating the soil. Wet, water soaked trimmings will not fertilize your soil as they should, but instead will act as a "wet blanket" choking out roots. It's best to wait out the rain and proceed with mowing when there is a nice, sunny weekend forecasted.

5. Fertilize: Once or twice a year use a granular or liquid fertilizer on your lawn. Think of the fertilizer as vitamins for your lawn--it helps keep the roots healthy, and grass growing vibrantly. Remember, if it does not rain within three days of application, it is important to spray down the lawn to allow the fertilizer to soak in.


Before you know it, your lawn will be the envy of the neighborhood and a go-to gathering place for summer events!